tv The Colbert Report Comedy Central July 27, 2011 9:55am-10:25am PDT
shocking costumes. you've got to see it. captioning sponsored by comedy central captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org it mean to be poor in america? wait about a week and we might all find out. (laughter) then showdown over the debt ceiling. will democrats cave or simply crumble? (laughter) and my guest, brooke gladstone is a radio host with a new graphic novel. maybe someday she'll put sound with pictures. (laughter) nasa has found volcanos on the dark side of the moon-- and they erupt in sync the wizard of oz. (laughter) this is "the colbert report." captioning sponsored by comedy central ( theme song playing ) ( applause )
>> stephen: welcome to the "report," everybody. thank you so much. is (crowd chanting "stephen") >> stephen: thank you so much. thank you for joining us. thank you, folks. you know, that is really lovely to hear. you know, i am not one to call attention to myself. (laughter) but every time i go to google news and type in "stephen colbert" it seems like every story is about me. (laughter) no, this time it's about my relationship with former godfather's pizza c.e.o. republican presidential candidate herman cane. now, i have been a fan of herman
cain ever since i saw his country-rocking campaign launch video. jim? ♪ get on board the herman cain train ♪ >> stephen: whoo! get on the herman cain train! (cheers and applause) folks, i love it because it rhymes. and it's much catchier than "step on into the ron paul shower stall." (laughter and applause) so naturally i was psyched when mr. cain agreed to come on my show. cain is going to be my guest on thursday, july 28. write that on your ipad in ink! (laughter) well, i hope you wrote that on your ipad in erasable ink because yesterday herman cain canceled on me. (boos) it's the second time cain has canceled.
and i... (laughter). i can't keep doing this. (laughter) herman cain, i am not some pizza crust you can just leave on your plate and move on to a hotter slice. (laughter) you know what, herman? you can't cancel on me because i'm canceling you! (cheers and applause) i think you should know i'm seeing someone else thursday night. (laughter) republican presidential candidate buddy romer. all right this is not just some rebound, either. i really like buddy romer. is that him? good, good because i like him. he's a former congressman and a one-term governor of louisiana. that's right, herman, buddy's actually held elective office. (laughter) so it's over herman. did herman call? no? fine, good. because buddy r roemer is my guy
now. and i know i said herman cain is my guy. but i'm beginning to think-- and i never thought i might say this-- herman cain might not be the next president of the united states. (laughter) you threw that one away. nation, jesus said the poor would always be with us. well, it turns out jesus does not know everything. for more, fox news stu vashny sy makes words come out of his mouth. >> when you think of poverty, you think of this. but what if i told you it really looks like this. a new report showing poor families in the united states are not what they used to be. i'm just going to give our viewers a quick run-through of what items poor families in america have. 99% of them have a refrigerator. (laughter) 81% have a microwave. >> stephen: a refrigerator and a microwave? they can preserve and heat food?
ooh-la-la, i guess the poor are too good for mold and trichinosis. it's all here, folks, in the conservative think-tank the heritage foundation's new report "air conditioning, cable t.v. and an xbox: what is poverty in the united states today?" and if you watch closely in stu varney's report just then, you saw that evidently poverty is the plasma flat screen aisle at best buy. (laughter) and you will not believe some of the stuff poor people have in their homes! luxuries like ceiling fans, d.v.d. players, answer magazines and coffee makers. (laughter) i don't have those things! i have value air, a blu ray player, voice mail and i go to starbucks everyday. (laughter) must be nice. must be pretty nice. (applause) and $10 coffee makers aren't the
only luxury these "poors" can afford. (laughter) stu? >> i seem to remember in the last few years being told that something like 12% of the children in america go to bed hungry at night. you're saying that that's flat out not accurate? >> that's an absolute lie. it may be 2% of children at some point in the year would go to bed hungry. >> stephen: 2% hungry! that's the perfect amount! (laughter) there's about 150 of us in this room. if three of us were hungry children, i think we'd feel pretty good about that. (laughter) i mean, this report proves that poor people are just not living down to our expectations. (laughter) if you still have the strength to brush the flies off your eyeballs, you're not really poor. because even the ones that are officially poor are probably way richer than you think. because in determining whether a household was poor, the census only counts about 4% of the
welfare spent on that family as income. so we don't need to give the poor assistance because they're not poor thanks to the assistance we give them. (laughter) i mean, folks, this great society antipoverty programs are like a dam that we built to hold back the river of poverty-- and it worked. so let's tear down the dam! i'm sure the river will stay p put. but if not and the poor start drowning again, we'll throw them a life preserver-- or a refrigerator. poor people seem to love those things. joining me now to apologize for the great society is the associate dean of georgetown law school. please welcome peter edelman. mr. edelman? (cheers and applause) thank you so much. >> thank you. thank you. >> stephen: now, sir, let's get your c.v. out here. you battled poverty for over 50 years. you worked as a legislative
assistant for robert kennedy in the senate. >> yes. >> stephen: assistant secretary of health and human services in the clinton administration where you resigned over welfare reform. >> yes. >> stephen: okay, and now you're writing a book about the battle with poverty and the future of that struggle in america. we've won the war on poverty, haven't we? >> no. >> stephen: i read this report. there aren't any poor people anymore. (laughter) why can't we just, you know, call the troops home and beat our plow shares back into swords? (audience reacts) >> i wish we could. you know, what about farm workers? california? stephen: they have all the food they can eat, sir. okay, what's your next evidence? >> but do they have xboxs? >> stephen: no, because they're being hogged by all the rest of the poor! >> i see. >> stephen: now, the official classification for poor in the united states is a family of four with income under $22,000 a year. do you think that's poor? >> i think it's hard to live on that, actually. >> stephen: $22,000 a year. you could buy 110 xboxes.
(laughter) >> yeah, well, you could... >> stephen: well, they seem to be spending all their money on that. >> how would you pay your rent then? you know, there are... i'm so interested in this report. there's six million people in this country whose only income is food stamps. only income is food stamps which is for that family that you were talking about, that's about 25% of the poverty line, that's all they have. so i don't know who's got all these xboxes. (laughter). >> stephen: you saw the stats. i mean, those are numbers, sir. >> yeah, those are numbers. >> stephen: are you saying that numbers are lying? >> oh! >> stephen: i don't see any... listen... (laughter). sir. .. >> the fact is, right now food stamps are really helping people in this country. we have 44 million people in the middle of this recession ha are getting that help and i'm glad we do. >> stephen: well, for only about one more week because if we don't raise the debt ceiling that's one of the things that will be cut right away. >> well, i am worried about the
fact that there's so many people in this country who are not paying their fair share of what we need to do in this country. >> stephen: here it comes. go ahead. i'm a rich guy, attack me. attack me. (cheers and applause) >> yes, absolutely. >> stephen: as a rich guy, let me tell you: i don't see any poor people around my gated community. (laughter) and i haven't checked the traps lately... (audience reacts) but if i don't see evidence of it, if i'm watching fox news and i don't see any evidence of poor people or if i do see poor people they look pretty well off, why should i support helping poor people? >> that's a problem. >> stephen: not my problem. that's the poor people's problem. why did they choose to be poor? (laughter) >> they chose to be poor? did they... >> stephen: poor is a choice. like guy gay. >> 19 million people chose to have incomes below the poverty line? >> stephen: yeah. >> six million people chose to have only income of food stamps?
>> stephen: it's called the protestant work ethic. get up a little earlier. you have to hucker down, you have to want it. >> go out to find that job that's really out there right today. >> stephen: yeah. >> hmm. >> stephen: do you have a job. >> i do. >> stephen: i have a job. are we better than poor people? >> no. >> stephen: then why do we have jobs and they don't? >> you got me there. >> stephen: if we don't get to see the poor people-- and we generally don't get to see the poor people. >> would you go with me some sometimes and i'll show you poor people. >> stephen: did you bring any poor people with you? i was hoping this was going to be one of those jack hanna segments where you bring me on a baby poor for me to hold. (laughter and applause) >> i can do that. >> stephen: maybe next time. thank you, mr. edelman. from georgetown, university. don't go anywhere, peter edelman. we'll be right back! we'll be right back! (cheers and applause) we'll be right back! (cheers and applause) the eagle flies at dawn. the monkey eats custard.
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(cheers and applause). >> stephen: thank you very much! wow. you guys do that so well victim you do it twice. (laughter) folks, the bitter partisan wrangling in washington over our nation's finances has hit rock bottom. the president is blaming house republicans. john boehner is pointing fingers at the president and joe biden is locked in the heated bad l with a vend magazine that won't release his teddy gram. but last night in his televised
presponse to john boehner, the president stooped to a new, new low. >> a predecessor of mine maid the case for a balanced approach by saying this: "would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates from raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share or bold you rather accept larger budget deficits, higher interest rates and unemployment?" those words were spoken by ronald reagan. >> stephen: how dare you use the "r" word? (laughter) that word belongs to us! (laughter) we conservative americans can say reagan to each other because we use it affectionately. i say it all the time. what up my gipper? gippa please. all the gip pers i the gippers y "no taxes!" but i'm not surprised that obama is playing the reagan card. she's just trying to shore up one of the left's long
discredited ideas: the united states government. to the house republicans we elected last november, they saw this failure of leadership coming. they told us that the government doesn't work and as soon as they got into office they proved it! (laughter) well, since nobody else has got the balls to call this one, i will. congress will not raise the debt ceiling by next tuesday and america will default! that will wrap things up for this great experiment in representative democracy. (laughter) hey... hey, hey, america had a good run. we had a very good run. looking back, we may have stayed in the game too long. we should have gotten out after the moon landing or when the tiny girl stuck the landing with a broken ankle. (laughter) the good news is the deadline's not until august 2 so it's still got a whole week to finish off america's bucket list. (laughter)
for instance, before our society collapses into roving cannibalistic motorcycle gangs i've always wanted to try bubble tea. (laughter) looks fun. (cheers and applause) those tasty little balls there. oh, also, we should invade iran. we know it won't be a quagmire because we've got to be out by next tuesday. (laughter) and we should finally just do it with canada. (laughter) the tension has been building for years. i'm talking crazy last night on earth grabbing borders slapping rockies half in french no eye contact eating poutin out of each other's great lakes nastiness. (cheers and applause) that was a crowd pleaser. and you know what? screw it. let's finally get a tattoo. maybe a chinese character on florida. (laughter) it will be a great way to start
my guest tonight has a new graphic novel. i hope it's not too graphic, this is a family show. (laughter) please welcome brooke gladstone. (cheers and applause) hey, brooke! nice to see you again. thanks for coming on! >> thank you. >> stephen: now you are the host of npr's "on the media." and you are also the author of the new book "the influencing machine: brooke gladstone on the media." what is the influence magazine? is it this? >> yes, actually, it is. >> stephen: i am a member of the media? >> you are part of the influence magazine. except that there is no influencing machine. this it too is what i want to fight: the popular notion that the media are controlling our minds. it's really a mirror. what? no, i have control! i have control. clap for me, my monkeys.
(cheers and applause) i believe the words you ear looking for "check and mate." (laughter) what do you mean? the media does not have... but that's everything that i shear that the media has control over the minds of its audience. we're all being brainwashed. >> well, the media are reflecting everything that we are as a people and as a civilization. and some of that is pretty disgusting. some of that is pretty shallow. some of that is trivial. some of it is frivolous and some of it is just plain mendacious. >mendacious. >> stephen: are you going to talk about me the entire interview? (laughter) >> on the other hand, so much of the media is everything that we want it to be. >> stephen: it's liberal. (laughter) the media has a liberal bias. this we know. the media-- except for fox news, the "wall street journal" and a couple other murdoch holdings-- all parts of the media have a liberal bias. you can not deny that. >> actually, there was a stud they george mason university
did, the first seven months of every president from reagan through obama and it turns out that the media hates presidents. the positive coverage is in the 30s and as a matter of fact clinton came off worse and obama came off worse in their first seven months than the republicans and, of course, in... on fox news channel, the obama numbers were at least 12 points lower. >> stephen: well, they have to be fair. (laughter) obama is 12 points worse. (laughter) >> on fox. >> stephen: okay. so this is... i mean, it's a great book. it's kind of like a graphic novel. we've got lots of pictures in here. it's a... it's a comic book. >> uh-huh. >> stephen: and you're in it a lot. >> yes, i am. >> stephen: if you're going to put yourself in a comic book, why cast yourself as an npr host? (laughter) why not give yourself, like, heat vision or something like that? why do it in this particular medium? you know, as a marshall
mclewin said, the medium is the message. what is the message of your medium being cartoons to explain our media? >> well, part of it is a gauntlet that i'm throwing down at the idea that only words can express complicated ideas. another part of it is that it's more like radio, and raid joe what i know. >> stephen: wait a second? pictures are more like radio? >> yes. >> stephen: you're insane! (laughter) >> yes! that's true. but think about it: radio is an incredibly intimate medium, right? i mean, you have to... >> stephen: i usually listen to it naked. (laughter) >> you have to rely on a person's voice which is so personal to lead you through awe thicket of ideas, to take you through a difficult situation. i thought that if i could speak in bubbles and look the reader directly in the eye that i would be able to approximate the intimacy of that relationship. also, i get to be a dog, i get to be spider-man, bride of frankenstein, medusa, the only
one i don't get to be is buffy and it really frustrates me! (applause). >> stephen: do you think that there is any bias in any of the media? because you seem to be expunging all guilt from the record of the media here. >> only if you think that bias has to be political. there are big biases in the media. >> stephen: what's your bias? you work for npr, i assume you have a pro tote bag agenda. (laughter) what is your bias? >> i have a pro transparency agenda. i generally like less secrecy, more sunshine, although i do have a fairly large selection of tote bags. sorry. >> stephen:s where the worst bias you seen in other media? >> i think that first of all there's bad news bias. that's the notion that... that makes you think the world is much scarier than it is. and that's a very bad thing. >> stephen: how bad? could it kill us? (laughter) >> because if you're worried
about things like socialism and sexting then you're so distracted you won't worry about the fact that it's easy to carry a bomb on to a train. so there's that. then there's narrative biases. >> stephen: well, on the note of it's easy to carry a bomb on to a train, sleep tight, america. brooke gladstone, thank you so much. (cheers and applause) >> thank you. >> stephen: "the influencing machine." we'll be right back.